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How Long Do You Stay on the Texas Sex Offender Registry?

Criminal Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

How Long Do You Stay on the Texas Sex Offender Registry?

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 Did you know that Texas ranks 13th in the nation when it comes to how many sex offenders reside in the state? According to statistics, there are about 325 registered sex offenders per 100,000 Texans.

That’s not a statistic you want to become a part of. Are you currently facing a sex-related charge? If so, then you’re likely wondering – will I be required to register as a sex offender if I’m convicted? How long do you stay on the Texas sex offender registry, anyway?

In Texas, sex crimes are taken very seriously by the law. If you’re hoping to avoid a conviction, then you’ll want to learn the information below.

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Sex Offender List: Is It For Life?

If you’re convicted of a sex crime, you’ll likely serve time in prison. Even once you’re released, you’ll be subject to further penalties like adding your name to the public sex offender list in your area.

One of the most pressing questions you might have is whether you’ll be marked for life as a sex offender. If you were convicted of the following crimes, then you’ll likely be registered for life:

  • Kidnapping
  • Aggravated kidnapping
  • Human trafficking
  • Continuous sexual abuse towards a minor
  • Sexual assault
  • Prohibited sexual conduct
  • Burglary
  • Compelling prostitution of a minor
  • Possession/promotion of child pornography

Although the court rules that you’ll be considered a sex offender for life, you might have options once you’ve served your time. If you can successfully reintegrate into society and turn around your life, then there’s an opportunity for early termination of sex offender registration.

The process of obtaining an early termination is complex, though. First, you’ll have to file a motion with your local court. Then, you’ll need to undergo an individual risk assessment. The court will then consider whether your motion should get approved or denied. It’s best to hire a legal representative if you’re considering this option.

When a Ten-Year Registration Applies in Texas

Did you not see your particular offense on the list above? If so, then you might be in luck. Other sex crimes only carry a 10-year term on the sex offender registry list. Here are a few situations when a 10-year term would apply:

  • Indecent exposure
  • Indecency with a child
  • Indecency with a child by sexual contact
  • Online solicitation of a minor
  • Prostitution

Another situation where a ten-year limit would apply is when you were convicted of the above crimes as a juvenile. If you were a minor but convicted a lifetime-worthy offense, then you’ll still be required to register for life. Despite that, you might have a better chance at an early termination if you were convicted as a minor.

Once you hit your ten-year mark, don’t stop registering right away. You must file a motion with the court before you officially stop registering on the list. Otherwise, you could get into more trouble.

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How Can I Avoid Becoming a Registered Sex Offender?

Clearly, getting convicted or pleading guilty to a sex crime can lead to lifelong consequences. So, how can you avoid them? The best way to avoid becoming a registered sex offender in Texas is to hire a skilled defense attorney that can build up a good defense strategy that works in court.

Avoiding a conviction could mean avoiding life-altering penalties.

Here are a few of the most common defense strategies used in sex crime cases:

  • Mistake of fact (you didn’t do it)
  • The statute of limitations has passed (the crime occurred a long time ago)
  • Consent (and the victim was an adult) or lack of intent
  • Challenging the integrity of physical evidence
  • Creating reasonable doubt

Bear in mind that not every defense strategy will be effective in every situation. You’ll have to weigh out the types of evidence the state has against you, the nature of the crime, and the officer’s behavior before you formulate a defense strategy.

Sex Offender Conviction: The Terms and Conditions You Need to Know About

So, what exactly do you have to do to register on the official sex registry in Texas? First, you’ll need to contact your local law enforcement agency. You’ll submit information like your name, address, photo, and the nature of the sex crime you committed. Your local law enforcement agency will put this information on the registry, and it will become public record.

You must report this information to the police station within seven days of arriving in the city where you plan to live. Once you’ve submitted your information, you’ll need to come back to the station within seven days again. This time, you’ll need to provide proof of where you live, and you’ll need to sign a form that verifies all the information you provided before is correct.

After completing this process, you’ll have to report back to the station at least once a year. Some offenders must report back every 30-90 days. If any of your information changes, then you’re required to inform the station as soon as possible.

You may still be able to go to college, but you can’t live on campus. You also might not be permitted to work in certain professions like operating a taxi or amusement park ride. If you plan to take a vacation, then you’ll also need to alert local law enforcement about your plans.

On top of all these requirements, you’ll also be limited to where you can live and visit. You can’t be anywhere near a “child safety zone,” like a public park or arcade. Any form of violating these terms could result in a revocation of your release. You could also be charged with a new crime of failing to register.

So, How Long Do You Stay on the Texas Sex Offender Registry?

In a nutshell, the length of time you’ll be required to stay on the sex offender registry in Texas hinges on the type of crime you committed. You’ll either be on the list for 10 years or for life. The best way to avoid registering on the list is to avoid a conviction in the first place.

Are you hoping to avoid the lasting consequences of being convicted of a sex crime? If so, then you need to hire a defense attorney you can trust. Our experts are prepared to help you determine what defense strategy will work best in your situation. Reach out to us now to learn more about how we can help.

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